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Mark 1:14–20

21 January 2024

Exploring the Scripture

This scripture passage explores Jesus’ proclamation of “good news.” The author of Mark asserts Jesus as the Son of God who embodies love and calls people to believe. This passage highlights the following key ideas.

Through life and ministry, Jesus is about to show God’s radical interest in humanity. He helped reshape thinking about a loving and creative God. This mission will be dangerous and will need extraordinary commitment. His followers are willing to leave their families and possessions to follow Jesus. This passage asks readers to evaluate their life and ministry through the lens of the ministry and life of Jesus and to examine what is important to God.

Verse 14 shares the understanding that this critical mission is indeed dangerous, noting John’s recent arrest. John was proclaiming Jesus as the Savior, preaching repentance and forgiveness in a radical way not heard before. For his commitment to God and Jesus, he was arrested and finally executed. For Jesus, this was a sign of supreme sacrifice. Disciples today are asked to examine their lives and discern what is important.

Verses 15–20 model the witness of invitation by Jesus. Disciples were asked to drop their nets and follow him. The account in Mark shows the first disciples as doing just that. They left everything they owned, their families, and friends to follow Jesus into the unknown. They showed faith and commitment. Common thought today is that they were just simple fishers who had little to give up to follow Jesus. These fishers from the shores of Galilee had businesses, employees, and family who depended on them. These fishers risked everything to follow Jesus.

These early disciples would be called to proclaim the good news after Jesus’ death and transform from followers to leaders. It is not hard to imagine these fishers spent much time in prayer to discern how they were called to commit themselves more fully to God. It is equally safe to assume they didn’t know the extent of how those simple prayers would change their lives and, maybe more important, history.

How many lives became hope-filled because of their risk-taking and testimony? How are we called to make such astounding changes in our lives so we can follow Jesus today? How can our risk-taking magnify our call to create communities of joy, hope, love, and peace?

We are called to wrestle with the tough challenges of being God’s creation. We are called to co-create with God a better world. At times, the mission will be difficult and maybe dangerous. But the mission demands sacrificial love. We may never see the changes in others’ lives, but the simple act of “dropping our nets” and following Jesus will be life changing.

Project Zion Podcast

Co-hosts Karin Peter and Blake Smith consider how this week's scripture connects to our lives today.


Central Ideas

  1. Life as a disciple calls for commitment and risk for the good of others.
  2. The journey is difficult and requires sacrificial love.
  3. We are called to invite others to join in the cause of Jesus Christ and proclaim the good news.

Questions to Consider

  1. How have you seen risk-taking, by you or others, improve the lives of others?
  2. Have you ever resented suffering and risk-taking? How did you overcome those feelings, and how did it help you understand more clearly the Mission Initiative of Invite People to Christ?
  3. How does your congregation become “fishers of people”?
  4. What does it mean to sacrificially love in today’s world?

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